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Subject: Playing a Free-for-all 4 Player Game rss

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Ewan Anderson
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How does magic work with 4 players?

How would we go about playing a 4 player free for all?

Who do you get to attack in your attack phase? Any player? Or the player directly to your left?

I recently invested in some cards from the Innistrad Set, and was wondering how we go about 4 player free for alls, it mentions in the rulebook modes called Commander, Two headed Giant and the like- but i just want a basic game, no teams complete free for all

Help would be appreciated
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Thrift Thopter
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Multi-player free-for-alls work basically the same as two-player games work, just with more players.

The main things to keep in mind are:
1. Priority to respond to spells and abilities passes in turn order, so if Player 1 casts a spell, and players 2 and 3 both have blue decks, player 2 can't wait to see if player 3 is going to counter the spell. Player 2 needs to decide if he wants to try to save his spell, by passing priority to player 3, but if player 3 doesn't have a counterspell, or chooses not to counter it, player 1's spell will resolve. On the other hand, if player 2 did counter the spell, when player 3 intended to anyway, he just saved one of his opponents a card, by giving up his own.

2. You can have your creatures attack any player, but all combat is resolved at once. You can't chose to resolve combat with one player, before starting with another.

3. You normally can't have your creatures block an attack on another player. You can use spells and abilities that bring creatures onto the battlefield already blocking the enemy creatures or making them "considered to be blocked," though.
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Cyrus the Great
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There really are no rules. I would suggest starting with a complete free-for-all, where you can attack any number of players. Depending on the amount of chaos you want, you may want to scale back to attacking only one player or just attacking left or right.

If you want some variety, you may want to check out Planechase or Archenemy.
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Ewan Anderson
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Can you split your attacks,
so say one of your creature A attacks player 2
and your creature B attacks player 3?
 
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Thrift Thopter
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Yes. Player 1 decides for each creature, whether it attacks, and who they attack. Players, 1, then 2, then 3 have a chance to cast spells, and activate abilities. Player 2 then decides for each of his creatures whether it will block a creature attacking him or not, then player 3 does the same. Players, 1, then 2, then 3 have a chance to cast spells, and activate abilities again. Finally, regardless of which player controls them, each creature with first strike or double strike simultaneously deals combat damage, to whatever they're engaged with, and surviving creatures without first strike, or with double strike, simultaneously deal combat damage, to whatever they're engaged with.
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Tommy Occhipinti
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Do note that unrestrained attacking creates really weird incentives. Aggression is almost never correct because then you expose yourself to attacks from all the other players. Trading creatures becomes a terrible proposition because it puts both of you behind.

In short, free for alls with unrestrained attacking feel totally different from (two player) Magic. Note that attack left or attack right don't necessarily restore the balance, because unlike in two player games you are being attacked by a different person than the person attacking you, so attacking is punished harder and happens less. For example, in a two player game I can swing with all my creatures knowing that it will force my opponent to chump block all over so that I don't fear being attacked back. However, in an attack left game, even if I am guarunteed to kill my opponent it isn't necessarily a grand proposition.

With three players I like to play the variant where each pair of players has a common life total, and when you attack you attack your opponent's common life total. When you reduce your opponent's joint life total to zero, you win. Another bonus is that this has no player elimination.

With four players, a reasonable option is to say you attack across. Once you eliminate the person across from you, you can attack openly. That said, I'd personally still prefer to play two headed giant or play a two player match with each opponent.
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Mark McEvoy
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Never liked free for all because it tended to encourage turtle tactics - rewards defensive play (because people will usually attack a less defended other opponent rather than waste resources overcoming the well defended player's defenses) and as a result, effectively punishes aggressive play.

I always preferred as a basic simple multiplayer format to have all creature combat go clockwise (so in your combat phase you always attack the player on your left, and the player on your right attacks you when he declares a combat phase).
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Cody Holden
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An optional rule that hasn't been mentioned yet is the "Range of Influence" rule. It works a bit better with games that have more than four players, but oh well. Basically, if everyone has a range of 1, then they can only target the creatures and players directly to the right or left of them. It's a good tool for simplifying larger games.

Also, the official multiplayer formats live here if you're interested.
 
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Jerry Martin
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I find free for all to be much better than attack left attack right style for the reason stated above. I could have 20 guys able to kill the guy about to attack and kill me but can do nothing about it because of an arbitrary rule. The person who suggests that attacking in a direction fixes this issue I have to disagree with. I never wanted to attack because it left me defenseless. Unless my attacker had no creatures.
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Tommy Occhipinti
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Syvanis wrote:
I find free for all to be much better than attack left attack right style for the reason stated above. I could have 20 guys able to kill the guy about to attack and kill me but can do nothing about it because of an arbitrary rule. The person who suggests that attacking in a direction fixes this issue I have to disagree with. I never wanted to attack because it left me defenseless. Unless my attacker had no creatures.


That's why attack across works (either with joint life totals in 3 player games or across the table in 4 player games).
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Daniël Muilwijk
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Wouldn't it be possible to include a rule that you can be attacked only once in between your own turns? And that during your own turn, you can only target one player and his permanents?
 
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Daniël Muilwijk
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Getting a weird idea here, which might be worth considering:

- Every player gets a pawn. All the pawns (randomly?) get placed in a row.

- When it's your turn, you are only allowed to attack one of the two players corresponding to one of the first two (?) pawns in the row.

- If you don't attack during your turn, your pawn is moved two (one?) places forwards in the row.

- If a player is attacked during a turn, his pawn is moved one (two?) places backwards in the row.

Something like that. I haven't simulated it yet, but something like this might work. Or maybe I'm making thiss all way too fiddly. Just an idea though.
 
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rico
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The group I play with plays multiplayer game almost exclusively. The format is based on how many players we have:

goo 3-4: Free For All
goo 5: You win when the players to your left and right are defeated. But you can cast spells at any valid target on the table and attack any player you want.
goo 6+: Same victory condition as 5, but your spells and attacks only have a range of 2 - you essentially can't affect anybody that is more than two seats away from you.

I find it fun way to play, but there are a few cavaets:
- It's a fairly political game, so I would never want to play this way with players that freak out when they think they are getting picked on. I'm assuming this is true with Commander for the same reason.
- Game length varies wildly
- There's a few cards you might want to ban, like limited resources
- The rules for Range take a little getting used to (like if you cast fog, if the attacker is in range and the defender isn't (or visa versa), then fog doesn't prevent any damage). Not something you have to worry about with 4 players, though

Anyway, have fun! And if you see anybody trying to combo out, get the whole table to kill them.
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Ewan Anderson
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Cool, thanks for the info guys, I haven't played Magic for a while- when I used to play it with my friends we started with "Portal" and then later moved on to the "Urza's Legacy" cycle.

We have decided to get back into it, and I recently purchased a whole load of commons/uncommons very cheaply off Ebay,
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Angelo Nikolaou
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You can find mountains of variants here
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delirimouse wrote:
With three players I like to play the variant where each pair of players has a common life total, and when you attack you attack your opponent's common life total. When you reduce your opponent's joint life total to zero, you win. Another bonus is that this has no player elimination.
This sounds intriguing. I assume that you play with shared blocking, a la Two Headed Giant. What happens if a card like Phyrexian Arena is played?
 
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Tommy Occhipinti
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jpeters wrote:
delirimouse wrote:
With three players I like to play the variant where each pair of players has a common life total, and when you attack you attack your opponent's common life total. When you reduce your opponent's joint life total to zero, you win. Another bonus is that this has no player elimination.
This sounds intriguing. I assume that you play with shared blocking, a la Two Headed Giant. What happens if a card like Phyrexian Arena is played?


In these cases we rule that you get to choose which life pile the total comes from. The same happens when you gain life.

Joint blocking is definitely allowed, though it can get political. In case of conflict players declare blockers in clockwise order.

Our group is casual enough that we can just decide something for the occasional rule question that comes up.
 
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Seabie wrote:
Getting a weird idea here, which might be worth considering:

- Every player gets a pawn. All the pawns (randomly?) get placed in a row.

- When it's your turn, you are only allowed to attack one of the two players corresponding to one of the first two (?) pawns in the row.

- If you don't attack during your turn, your pawn is moved two (one?) places forwards in the row.

- If a player is attacked during a turn, his pawn is moved one (two?) places backwards in the row.

Something like that. I haven't simulated it yet, but something like this might work. Or maybe I'm making thiss all way too fiddly. Just an idea though.


It might be an interesting variant. Attacked players should almost certainly move to the end of the queue though. I assume that the intention is to punish not attacking and (more so) to ensure everyone gets attacked roughly equally.
 
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Daniël Muilwijk
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You're probably right. I haven't tested anything though.

I'm planning to use Planechase as my multiplayer mode. Should be fun.
 
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